Rio’s Olympics “legacy”: padlocked, looted and off-limits to community

In a blow to the Olympics’ ideal of "legacy" value, Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Maracanã stadium is reported to be padlocked, looted, and vandalised six months after the 2016 Summer Olympics ended.

Comprehensively renovated for an estimated $500m for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, the stadium’s pitch has been infested by worms, and its electricity has been cut off due to unpaid utility bills totalling nearly $1m, CNN reports, after a visit to the venue by reporters.

Nearly nearly 10% of the stadium’s 78,000 seats have been stolen, while windows and doors have been broken, CNN said.

The problem appears to be a legal dispute, fought among the operator Maracanã SA, the Rio 2016 Organising Committee, and the state of Rio over who is in charge of the stadium.

According to CNN, Maracanã SA claims the state and Rio 2016 violated contract terms agreed when the Olympic Committee assumed control last March. Maracanã SA claims the stadium was not returned in the conditions stipulated.

According to state energy provider Light, the stadium had incurred a debt of nearly three million Brazilian reals ($939, 937), CNN reported.

In the run-up to the Games, the government of Brazil praised the refurbishment of Maracanã as "very important for Rio de Janeiro", saying it "improved the city’s sport facilities and sped up urban development in the region, considered to be a priority".

Apart from the stadium, other Olympics venues are not yet living up to organisers’ legacy claims.

UK newspaper The Guardian reports that Rio’s new $20m golf course has been shut after failing to attract enough paying players to maintain the course and facilities.

Four other venues at Olympic Park – two arenas, the tennis centre and the velodrome – have also failed to attract new operators since the Games.

It means "the entire facility has been effectively closed down and remains off limits to the local community", noted The Guardian.

Image: The Maracanã Stadium complex in 2014 (Wikimedia Commons)

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  1. They should have listened to the people

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